The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience

London: Harvey and Darton, 1826.

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Advocating for girls' equal education while critiquing misogynistic judgements against girls who are trained in a more "ladylike" course

(Item #6067) The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience. Emily Cooper.

The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience

London: Harvey and Darton, 1826. First edition. Publisher's quarter roan over marbled boards. Measuring 140 x 85mm. Front endpaper neatly excised, else collating complete with frontis and publisher's adverts: [2], 249, [3]. Some rubbing and chipping to boards with spine slightly sunned. Hinges and joints firm. Occasional light scattered foxing, but overall internally clean. A scarce didactic juvenile collection urging educated children against anti-feminist attitudes and social judgement, OCLC reports only 13 copies at institutions. The present is the only copy on the market.

A collection of four didactic juvenile stories, largely centered on overcoming social misunderstandings and prejudices surrounding gender and gendered education. Included are The Holiday Visit, The Two Friends, A New Acquaintance, and The Little Heroine. The first story, from which the collection takes its title, also sets the book's tone; and it reveals that while the author is a proponent of women's equal education, she is not an advocate for the misogynistic judgements against girls who receive more traditional "ladylike" training. The Stanhope children -- Ambrose, Anna, Henry, and Susan -- have been educated together at home by their father, who has encouraged their scholarly and practical pursuits. As a group, they were raised into Latin, mathematics, history, and the sciences as well as taught to enjoy outdoor pursuits such as gardening and vegetable growing. When their cousin Louisa visits on holiday from a boarding school, the children are predisposed to judge her before arrival. They assume she will be useless, frivolous, and stuck up. Led by Ambrose, the Stanhope children tease and belittle Louisa for her discomfort in outdoor pursuits, for her talent in music and art but her lack of general scholarship, and for her need of a maid to assist her in dressing. But as the story unfolds, Mr. Stanhope takes numerous opportunities to point out to his children that they are the ungenerous ones; he encourages them to consider how Louisa's education does her a disservice in the areas their family privileges, but that she excels over them in meeting social expectations. Unlike Anna and Susan, she has been trained to realize the limited options open to her in her adult life and to position herself for the best possible marriage she can, as she is "never likely to live on by herself." The problem is not with Louisa but with the system. In the end, all of the children learn to be more generous and less prejudiced, and to judge their own merits and accomplishments more fairly.
(Item #6067)

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The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience
The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience
The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience
The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience
The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience
The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience
The Holiday Visit and Other Tales: Being Sketches of Childhood, Designed for a Juvenile Audience